The history of commerce in Ghana is one that has lasted for centuries, it first began in began in 1482, when the first Portuguese settlers disembarked and began trading in gold, ivory, and timber. With such a long history in commerce and a current population of over twenty-eight million people, it should not come as a surprise to you that your child who was born in that environment wants to start his own business at such an early stage. As parents, we owe a duty to our kids to support their positive endeavors to the best of our ability.
Starting a new business even as an adult is a very daunting task to accomplish. I believe teaching your child to be an entrepreneur is one of the best gifts you can give to him as a parent. Nevertheless, there are quite a number of things you need to have in mind while helping your child start his business:
1. Your child’s education
Ghanaians hold education in high esteem, trust me pulling your child out of school is not a good idea. Since most of the schools that offer formal education only do so from eight to two, you may have to make special arrangements with your child’s school although the school curriculum can be a little rigid.
2. Discover your child’s interest
Aside money, having a genuine interest in a particular business has been a driving force for many successful businessmen and women, the same applies to kids. Sometimes kids start stuff they expect to be fun but get bored mid-way and abandon it. Starting a small “kid business” for your child in Ghana is not going to cost you a kidney, so there is room for a few trial and errors until your child stumbles on one he likes and can run on his own.
3. Teach your child to write a business plan
Writing a good business plan is a skill every good businessman must have. Teaching your child to write a business plan will not just help him in starting his “kid business” but will help him in starting future businesses. Here are a few things that go into writing a business plan:
- Make sure your child understands that a business plan doesn’t necessarily have to be voluminous; a good business plan is known by its content. So he should as much as possible keep it short and concise.
- As is obtainable in all other kinds of writing, teach your child how essential it is to understand his audience.
- Make sure he learns to speak in a language that will be understood by his audience.
- Teach your child to be confident among his competitors, make sure he understands that no one knows everything that there is to know about the business world. Teach your child that in the long run, he will come to realize that most of his competitors just like him are learning as they go.
Major Components a Business Plan Must Contain
1. Executive summary
This is a comprehensive overview of your business and plans. It is usually contained in the first two pages of the business plan.
This part of a business plan answers the following questions; what problem does the product you planning to sell solve? Do you have competition? Who is your target market? If your business plan can successfully and intelligently answer these questions then you are one step closer to helping your child start his own business.
A business plan is just an idea written on a piece of paper if in the business plan there is no logical. This is where you come in as a parent. A child may have a nice business idea but may not know exactly how to carry it out, owing to the fact that as an adult you have more exposure in the business world than your child so you are bound to be more logical in this regard.
4. Company description
This part of a business plan is used to make available information in the tune of high level review of the different elements of your child’s business.
5. Legal structure
Decide with your child the legal structure the business will operate with. There are a number of legal structures available to your child, help your child choose the type of legal structure that best suits your business.
Half the businesses in Ghana are sole proprietorships. A sole proprietorship is a business owned and run by one person who is the owner. The advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it operates at a very low cost. A sole proprietor personally takes responsibility for the debts of the business.
A General Partnership is comprised of two or more persons who agree to contribute money, labor, and skill to a business. Each partner shares the profits, losses, and management of the business and each partner is personally and equally liable for debts of the partnership.
A Limited Partnership is comprised of one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. The general partners manage the business and share fully in its profits and losses. Limited partners share in the profits of the business, but their losses are limited to the extent of their investment.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A Limited Liability Company is comprised of one or more members, which by the virtue of the veil of incorporation provides the owner’s protection of personal assets. Members invest in a limited liability company in exchange for a percentage ownership interest. An Operating Agreement states what share of the limited liability company profits and losses each member will receive and spells out the internal arrangements of the business.
Here are other ways to help your child
1. Choose a business location
Help your child choose a perfect business location. Depending on where you live, I usually advise parents to have their children start their businesses from home until they’ve made enough profit to rent a business place.
2. Teach your child how to promote his business using the internet
Most Ghanaians have access to the internet. Make sure you also teach your child effective use of social media for the purpose of advertisement. Almost everyone in Ghana uses one social media app or another; social media is a great way for your child to advertise his business. Online business is fast taking over the conventional market, in Ghana, online stores now stock almost everything you can think of ranging from foodstuff to gadgets.
3. Teach your child good customer service
Ghanaians are very polite people and like everyone else like to be treated with respect. Teach your child the magic of good and reliable customer service.
Lastly it is important your child learns and understands that it takes time for a new business to kick off.
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